Fantastic race day out in Auburn, California for the Auburn International Triathlon, the USA Triathlon Southwest Regional Championship race. It's hard to believe its been 5 years since I completed in the sprint version of the race - previous race report here.
This time around, I stayed at the Larkspur Landing Roseville Hotel once again - great place. At packet pickup, I setup my run gear, given that this is a two transition race. At the pre-race meeting, we heard an inspiration speech from Jaime Whitmore, mother to twin boys and cancer survivor vying for the 2016 Para-Olympics in Rio. Afterwards, I did a drive of the bike course and good thing I did because even driving with a map and GPS - it was confusing! Definitely not your regular 40K triathlon bike leg.
In the morning, I decided that I would park at the T1 swim start instead of parking at T2 and doing a 7 mile downhill bike ride to T1. I remembered 5 years ago that it was pitch dark and freezing at the time and I really didn't want to ride in the dark with a backpack in the cold. However, upon arriving at T1 via car, it was already light out and the weather was very fair. I could have easily biked down like most of the other participants - note to future racers. I had plenty of time to get everything setup in T1 and head down to the lake. This was the second open water swim I raced with my Garmin 920XT watch. I got a pretty good line except for the route back where we were headed into the sun and I didn't spot the buoy until I was too far inland. I don't know how many times I will need to learn the lesson that you ALWAYS should be spotting the buoy -ALWAYS, no exceptions and no following others thinking they know better.
After the swim, I knew the bike was going to be grueling. My heart rate spiked up really high on the climb out of the lake area which I knew would come back to haunt me later. Even though I had driven the bike course the night before, it was still impossible to remember all of the turns and directions. Luckily, it was fairly well marked although there was one intersection on the way back which I caught myself wondering whether I had taken the right direction at the fork - luckily, I had. It's interesting how they designed this bike course. I know I lack so much of the power that I used to have on the bike leg of triathlon. I'm sure this is because I don't train as hard and as much as I used.
In any event, I was glad to be done safely with the bike. I grabbed my shoes and headed out for the run. The run course also had some directional concerns. I attempted to memorize the turns based on the maps in order to avoid my own confusion. I felt great starting off since it was single track trail down hill and then paved downhill to the middle of the first loop. Then the incline came and I had little endurance. Of course, I don't train on any hills although I had been optimistic since my last flat training run on the previous Monday had been at a fast for me average pace. Whenever I got tired, I thought of Jaime's speech the day before about never giving up and always pushing forward. On the positive side, the 10K runs don't see that long even though I struggle the whole time - maybe I just have a different perception now as opposed to years ago. I was thrilled to come in 3rd place considering how tough the course was and that it was the designated the USAT Southwest Regional Championship race.
RANK: 3rd in Age Group, USAT Southwest Regional Championship Race
TOTAL TIME: 3:00:42
SWIM: 24:14. 2015 Auburn International Triathlon Swim Course
BIKE: 1:32:08. 2015 Auburn International Triathlon Bike Course
RUN: 1:00:34. 2015 Auburn International Triathlon Run Course